Nicola Davies on Royal Society Young People’s Prize shortlist

The Royal Society Young People’s Prize shortlist, featuring Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton’s Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes, has been announced. The award aims to promote the best science writing for under-14s.

The judges commented on Davies and Sutton’s work: “You might not have even heard of microbes before reading this book however it brings to life beautifully what they are and why they are so important. It’s also an absolutely gorgeous picture book.”

The other shortlisted works are 365 Science Activities by various authors, Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka and Brian Biggs, Jake’s Bones by Jake McGowan-Lowe, Night Sky Watcher by Raman Prinja, and Utterly Amazing Science by Professor Robert Winston.

Each shortlisted book will be given £1,000, and the winner will be the recipient of £10.000.

Past winners include Mighty Microbes by Thompson Yardley, and The Global Garden by Kate Petty, Jennie Maizels and Corina Fletcher.

The winner will be revealed in November.

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Emma Yarlett wins English 4-11 Years Picture Book Award

The winners of the 4-11 Picture Book Awards have been announced including Emma Yarlett for Orion and the Dark in the Fiction 4-7 Years category.

In Orion and the Dark, the eponymous character is petrified of the mysterious Dark, and has tried all sorts to overcome his fear from eating lots of carrots, dressing up as an owl to staging a protest, but nothing has worked…that is until the Dark comes for a visit with surprising results.

Yarlett wrote on Twitter: “Absolutely over the moon that ORION & THE DARK has won the he @EnglishAssoc 4-7 Fiction Book Prize!”

Yarlett is offering 20% off all Orion and the Dark giclee prints to celebrate her win (just use the code: HOORAY).

The other winners are Jason Chin for Gravity (Non-Fiction 4-7 Years), William Grill for Shackleton’s Journey (Non-Fiction 7-11 Years), and Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell for The Sleeper and the Spindle (Fiction 7-11 Years).

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Steve Anthony wins Oscar’s First Book Prize

Steve Anthony’s The Queen’s Hat, the tale of the monarch’s adventure around London’s landmarks to grab back her ribboned headwear, has won the £5,000 Oscar’s First Book Prize. He beat Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper (Hedgehugs), Tim Warnes (Dangerous!), Richard Byrne (This Book Just Ate My Dog!), and Victoria Turnbull (The Sea Tiger) to the prize.

The Queen’s Hat has previously been nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal, and has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Read it Again! Award, and the Sheffield’s Children’s Book Award.

Anthony wrote on his blog: “Oscar’s First Book Prize is such a personal, touching award. I so admire Oscar’s family for starting something that’s a really positive celebration of his life – thousands of people across the UK now know his name, and I’m so honoured to be part of it, as well as being part of a fantastic celebration of picture books. Each book on the shortlist is so brilliant!”

Anthony will be releasing The Queen’s Handbag in October. The story follows the Queen’s journey in an Aston Martin car, a motorbike and a Red Arrow plane in the hope of retrieving her stolen handbag from a mischievous swan.

Last year Benji Davies was awarded the prize for The Storm Whale.

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Museum of Childhood celebrates 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The V&A Museum of Childhood is celebrating 150 years of Lewis Carroll’s gloriously bizarre classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with a free display The Alice Look.

Visitors can see how many magazines, photographs, posters and fabrics were inspired by the vibrant tale from American Vogue’s Annie Leibovitz shoot featuring Natalia Vodianova to Liberty Spring Summer 2015 fabric collection to pop videos and catwalk shows starring Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne and others.

The exhibition will also show how Alice is dressed around the world: Provençal Alice wears tropézienne sandals and a sundress, whilst a Swahili Alice swaps crinoline for a local kanga.

Josie Smith, pattern-cutter for Roksanda, has been commissioned to create a three-dimensional version of Alice’s Wonderland outfit using material printed with text from the book.

The Alice Look is at the V&A Museum of Childhood until 1 November.

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Dead Good Reader Awards launched

The Dead Good Reader Awards has been launched, and need bibliophiles to help select the best crime characters, locations and stories.

Readers are being asked to nominate their favourite titles in six different categories on the Dead Good website: The Lee Child Award for Best Loner or Detective, The Val McDermid Award for Fiendish Forensics, The Reichenbach Falls Award for Most Epic Ending, The Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location, The Dr Lecter Award for Scariest Villain, and The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book.

The deadline for nominations is the 31 May. And in June a public vote on the shortlisted titles will open. The winners will be revealed at the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate in July.

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Val McDermid and Kate Mosse celebrate Agatha Christie anniversary

Celebrities like Labyrinth author Kate Mosse and Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime writer Val McDermid are joining in the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie celebrations by helping to find the World’s Favourite Christie titles.

Members of the public are being asked to vote for their most treasured Christie books in the World’s Favourite Christie poll by 31 May, and can look up videos of celebrities championing their most loved stories. Mosse is hoping Sleeping Murder will be the winning tale, and McDermid is promoting The Murder at the Vicarage.

Other celebrities involved in the campaign include David Suchet, Sophie Hannah, and David Baddiel.

The most popular story will be revealed in September.

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Kate Tempest photo acquired by National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery has acquired Dav Stewart’s photograph of poet and spoken word artist Kate Tempest from her debut solo album Everybody Down.

The image will be displayed with over fifty portraits of other well-regarded writers like Carol Ann Duffy (The Bees, The Gift), Andrew Motion (The Pleasure Steamers, Keats: A Biography), Michael Rosen (Mind Your Own Business, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt), Simon Armitage (Seeing Stars, The Shout) and Benjamin Zephaniah (Talking Turkeys, Face, Terror Kid) in the touring photography exhibition Picture the Poet.

Tempest’s Everybody Down album came out on Big Dada Records, and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Her epic narrative poem Brand New Ancients won the Ted Hughes Prize, and she will releasing her debut novel The Bricks that Built the Houses next year.

Liz Smith, Director of Participation and Learning at the National Portrait Gallery, commented: “Kate Tempest was chosen by the young people we have been working with as one of the inspirational poets they felt should be included in the exhibition. So it is with great pride and relevance that we can announce the acquisition of this portrait by Dav Stewart and that it will join Picture the Poet.”

Picture the Poet will be on display at The Collection, Lincoln, from 1 May until 2 August. The exhibition will then tour to Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, and Tullie House, Carlisle.

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